07/29/12 — CIS needs community to help supply students

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CIS needs community to help supply students

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on July 29, 2012 1:50 AM

Every child likes to show up on the first day of school with a new notebook, markers and other things on the supply list.

Not all of them can accomplish that, though.

"There are many kids in our schools that do not have the basic supplies. They don't have the tools that are necessary to make them successful in a classroom -- bookbags and all of the school supplies that they need," said Selena Bennett, executive director of Communities in Schools. "They're expensive, and we have a lot of parents that can't afford to equip their kids with all the necessary tools."

Despite all the back-to-school sales and tax-free weekend events to create savings, there will always be those who simply don't have a dollar to stretch.

So agencies like Communities in Schools work diligently to see that every child starts off the school year on equal footing.

This year's school supplies drive is under way, in part through a national effort sponsored by Walmart.

In its second year, "Build a Backpack" can be supported at all three area Walmart stores, Mrs. Bennett said.

"(They) have bins set up where people can contribute, and I will be called to pick up all that," she said. "I'm hoping that we'll get a real big push here."

Another drive, "Stuff the Bus," is planned for Friday, Aug. 17, in the News-Argus parking lot on Berkeley Blvd., allowing the public to drop off donations between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.

Mrs. Bennett said she is also seeking others willing to help.

"Any churches or organizations that want to donate school supplies or money toward the purchase of school supplies, they can contact me and I will be glad to work with them, or if they want to designate a school that they want school supplies to go toward," she said.

CIS is open to any and all donations, she said.

"Some people want to know, what kind of things should I purchase?" she said. "Always, we need bookbags and people don't have to stuff the bookbags with supplies. We'll take just the bookbags.

"We always need notebook paper and composition books, just basic, basic supplies. For the young children, crayons, markers and colored pencils, pencil cases -- both plastic and the zip cases -- pens and pencils, red pens, black pens, blue pens."

While the emphasis is on helping students be prepared for the average schoolday, Mrs. Bennett pointed out that the need continues throughout the year.

"We have a great number of kids who are homeless or move from school to school. We work with counselors during the year," she said. "There are families that are homeless, families if there's a tragedy and they're burned out, we'll have (school supplies) on hand. And sometimes a school might have a special need for 25 of the same thing and we might be able to help them.

"We'll accept donations at any time but in particular I would like to have them for the beginning of the school year."

For more information, call Communities in Schools at (919) 735-1432.

Donations can also be mailed to the attention of Mrs. Bennett, Communities in Schools, P.O. Box 11557, Goldsboro, N.C. 27532.